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June 04, 2019 Did You Know?

The TIPS Leadership Academy Experience: Valued Lessons on a Shared Journey

By Micalann C. Pepe

TIPS’s 2018–2019 Leadership Academy Class at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Las Vegas, January 26, 2019. Photo by Gail Vaughn Ashworth.

Three of the people I admire most in the TIPS Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee had all participated in TIPS’s renowned Leadership Academy, and all three raved about their experiences and encouraged me to strive to be nominated to a Leadership Academy class. It did not take much convincing for me to pursue the Leadership Academy.

After the nomination, application, and selection process for the 2018–2019 Leadership Academy class, I began anticipating what the Academy experience would be like. Who would be in the group? Would we all form tight bonds like those my mentors had formed during their Leadership Academy sessions? What leadership skills would I develop or hone?

Receiving this year’s Leadership Academy roster and scanning law firm websites to get more information on the members of the incoming class was exciting. My colleagues had already accomplished so much and would bring a wide range of talents, backgrounds, and experiences to the table. Meeting each of the participants in person did not disappoint. Right away, I knew that this group of young leaders from all over the United States would teach, inspire, and support one another throughout our shared journey in the Leadership Academy.

Not only was I delighted with our Leadership Academy class, but also with the Leadership Academy Task Force (composed of some of the most dedicated and accomplished leaders in the Section), who assembled an excellent lineup of speakers and topics to educate our group. We have enjoyed direct access to, and leadership lessons from, many accomplished and dynamic leaders, including ABA President Bob Carlson, former ABA President Robert Grey, ABA President-Elect Judy Perry Martinez, and TIPS Chair Roy Alan Cohen, among others.

For me, the best leadership lessons have come from our Leadership Academy caucuses at the end of each session, during which we debrief and discuss—and sometimes disagree about—our takeaways from the programs. Because our group is composed of such a diverse mix of personalities, backgrounds, leadership styles, and expectations, the caucuses have opened my eyes to new perspectives, challenged me as a leader, and educated me about issues I had not yet thought about.

As I craft this article, we are halfway through the program, and I am thankful for the sessions we have had together, eager for the next two meetings in New York City and San Francisco, and already a little melancholy that our time together in the Leadership Academy has gone by so quickly.

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By Micalann C. Pepe

Micalann C. Pepe is a partner at the full-service law firm Jaburg Wilk in Phoenix, Arizona. She assists clients with bad faith, insurance coverage, and general litigation matters, and may be reached at [email protected].